Meet Joseph, Surviving Advanced Cancer
“For me, Ackerman Cancer Center is not a medical facility. For me, it is a healing place. Everyone is there to help you. Every staff member is very nice–they know you are a patient and that you therefore deserve attention and care. They have exceeded my expectations, and they continue to do so.”
Meet Tom, Lung Cancer Survivor
“In December 2015, I finished an eight-week proton beam therapy program at the Ackerman Cancer Center. I look back on it as an experience that could not have gone better. I am grateful. I knew I wanted proton beam for my lung cancer and could not schedule timely treatment at other centers. Tara, the New Patient Coordinator, scheduled me with Dr. Ackerman within four days.
A visit to the Ackerman Cancer Center is different from my experiences at numerous other medical treatment facilities including the mega-centers, small treatment facilities, and everything in between. The atmosphere is one of openness and transparency with the emphasis on the patient’s needs first. All sorts of refreshments are available and even catered patient/staff dinners on Wednesday nights, which foster friendships and trust with the staff. The motif is colorful, cheerful, very tasteful, and professional.
Doctors and higher-level staff are not secluded behind layers of walls and bureaucracy. They are visible and ready to advise you and answer questions. A “wait” is not a wait here. They want us to be comfortable, and that is their goal. I noticed that in some treatment areas there is a bit more of a business air. You will be kindly asked about your day during the “prep,” but you will soon be in treatment and out on time, and that is a good thing. When the doctor sees a need for a sophisticated scan, there is no “schedule and wait and then schedule again” to see the doctor. Instead the patient walks about 50 steps, has the scan, and returns to the exam room where the scan is exhibited on the doctor’s large monitor, along with past scans for comparison.
The overall culture must automatically find its way to the patients, for they too are eager to share their day and their experiences. They all have a story, and many come from some very faraway places. Conversations often begin with, “It seems like these treatments should be harder.” There are a variety of professionals to meet the wide range of needs of cancer patients. A couple of examples would be nutritionists for dietary needs and social workers for help with finances, housing, and so on.
The diagnosis of cancer is a daunting experience for all of us. If a person has a question about any aspect of patient care at Ackerman’s, a call to Tara at 904-880-5522 will get you a prompt answer. I would wish my experience on anyone who reads this brief summary.”